Chinese State Media Report Cultural Revolution Apologies
Chen Xiaolu is the son of Chinese Communist
Party (CCP) veteran general Chen Yi.
Chen Xiaolu recently returned to Beijing No.8
Middle School, which he attended as a child.
In a reunion of alumni, he apologized for the
torture of teachers during the Cultural Revolution.
This move was highly reported by state-run media.
Analysts say that this is to pave the road of abandoning
the “leftist line" for the upcoming Third Plenary Sessions.
67-year-old Chen Xiaolu, is Chairman of the
alumni association in Beijing No.8 Middle School.
On October 7, Chen returned to his
former school, along with 14 other alumni.
They bowed face-to-face with their
teachers, who were now in their 80’s.
They apologized to their teachers for the torture and
persecution they endured during the Cultural Revolution.
In August, Chen Xiaolu posted an apology letter on a blog
of the alumni association for Beijing No.8 Middle School.
Chen sincerely apologized for his rebellion and organizing
denouncements of school leaders, teachers and students.
Huang Jian, Secretary of the alumni association:
“Chen Xiaolu thought about the apologies
for a long time. This is in his deep mind.
He made up his mind to have it done. Being the
Chairman, he did it on the behalf of all of us."
In June, Yanhuang Chunqiu magazine published
an apology letter written by a former Red Guard.
Subsequently, more former Red Guards publicly
expressed their repentance and apologies.
Chen Xiaolu’s apology for the Cultural
Revolution triggered wide media attention.
On October 7, China Youth Daily published an article,
about Chen and other alumni apologizing to their teachers.
Mainstream state-media, including Xinhua
and Sina websites, have circulated the article.
Huang Jian expressed surprise at the wide reporting of
this event in media coverage, especially state media.
Huang Jian: “The regime always censors this topic.
Now it seems to have opened a little, allowing media
to truthfully report on it. I think it is a good signal."
Their apologies also aroused different opinions.
Netizens highlighted that the Cultural Revolution
was several decades ago, and questioned
the motivation of publicizing apologies now?
How should we interpret this event?
Hua Po, Beijing current affairs observer says
that behind Chen’s high-profile apologies
is likely to lay the intentions of high-level’s.
Hua Po: “Actually, Chen reminds people not to repeat
the tragedy, and not to follow the way of the ‘leftist line’.
It likely has high-level support. Thus in some
way, it also conveys the high-level message."
Zhang Jian, US-based China social affairs expert thinks
that since the second and third generation princelings
took power, mistreatment of civilians has increased.
Now the regime used this event to express that
the Xi Jinping regime won’t turn to the “left".
Zhang Jian: “They tried to win people’s hearts, and
handle some issues in a soft and low-profile way.
They let civilians think that these princelings feel
sorry for what they had done during that time, and
that they still have gratitude toward their teachers.
In this way, the CCP intends to
counterbalance its bad reputation."
As media were reporting Chen’s apology, Beijing’s
Great Hall of the People held an event
to commemorate Xi Zhongxun’s 100th birthday.
Xi Zhongxun was former Vice Chairman of
the Standing Committee and Vice Premier.
He is the father of Xi Jinping, the current CCP leader.
Hua Po: “Xi Zhongxun’s wife Qi Xin
and their children gave speeches.
Their talks focused on Xi Zhongxun’s
experience during the Cultural Revolution.
Once more, they mentioned the Cultural Revolution
having brought great damage and harm to China.
They vowed that China will not
return to the Cultural Revolution."
In the event, many former CCP leaders’ children turned up.
This included Mao Zedong’s daughter,
Li Min as well as Liu Shaoqi’s son, Liu Yuan.
Deng Xiaoping’s son, Deng Pufang also
attended, as did Hu Yaobang’s son, Hu Deping.
Hua Po says that with Chen Xiaolu’s apology
letter, it indicates that Xi Jinping has gathered
different groups’ leaders under his banner,
This is to pave a way for the upcoming
Third Plenary Session of 18th CCP congress.